Hosts Brazil kick off the knockout rounds when they take on Chile in Belo Horizonte on Saturday for the first last 16 match of the 2014 World Cup.
The group stages are done and dusted and the equation is now very simple, win to advance or lose and go home.
The winners of these two matchups will go on to face each other in the quarter-finals. Let's have a look at the match odds for each game and examine where the best bets are to be had.
|World Cup 2014: Day 16 Fixtures|
|June 28||5 p.m./Noon||Brazil vs. Chile||1-1 (Brazil on pens)|
|June 28||9 p.m./4 p.m.||Colombia vs. Uruguay||2-0|
|World Cup 2014: Day 16 Match Odds|
Brazil vs. Chile
Though hotly tipped to go all the way at this year's World Cup, Brazil have been underwhelming thus far, despite topping their group.
An opening 3-1 victory against Croatia was dogged by controversy as the referee gave Brazil a very lenient penalty, failed to send Neymar off for elbowing Luka Modric, per the Daily Mail's Lee Clayton, and harshly disallowed Niko Kovac's side a goal.
They then drew 0-0 with Mexico as they failed to unlock the Mexico defence or get past the brilliant Guillermo Ochoa in goal.
Finally, they put together a relatively convincing display against Cameroon as they won their final group game 4-1.
However, the African side were poor, per the BBC's Farayi Mungazi, and although Brazil looked good going forward there are still big questions about the strength of their back line.
Chile could exploit Brazil's defensive weaknesses. They showed in a 2-0 victory over Spain that they are a major threat going forward—as well as solid at the back—and will provide Brazil with their sternest test so far.
The likes of Arturo Vidal and Alexis Sanchez could hurt Brazil and a draw in normal time is by no means out of the question and looks a good bet at 7-2.
There will be nerves in Belo Horizonte, especially from the home side as they have so much to lose. Chile will go out to get on top early on with their very effective pressing game, and they look good to get on the scoresheet first.
With Neymar, Brazil have a constant goal threat and there is no doubt they will score at some point. Thus a draw looks likely and penalties may come in to play. If it does indeed come down to a shootout, Brazil have the quality to prevail and make it through to the last eight.
Prediction: 1-1 (Brazil to win on penalties)
Colombia vs. Uruguay
Colombia have been arguably the most impressive side in this competition so far and in James Rodriguez they have one of the star players, per Bleacher Report's Jonathan Johnson:
They cruised through their group, winning all three games, scoring nine goals in the process and only conceding twice.
On the other hand, Uruguay scraped into the last 16 after losing 3-1 to Costa Rica in their opener and then beating England 2-1 and Italy 1-0.
Although their results have improved, their Italy victory was unconvincing and their win over the Three Lions was inspired by a rampaging Suarez, who they will be without on Saturday.
La Celeste looked woeful without the Liverpool striker against Costa Rica and the debacle surrounding his suspension will no doubt have caused some disruption in the Uruguay camp, not the best preparation for a very tricky game.
Colombia seem very reasonably priced at even money to take the victory and advance to the quarter-finals. They have oozed quality throughout the competition and Uruguay do not look to have the team to compete.
If indeed Colombia do claim victory—and Brazil also get through their tie—Jose Pekerman's side will pose a very serious threat to the hosts' survival in the competition.
The Colombians have gone about their business in a very classy way in Brazil and they must be considered as genuine contenders to go all the way.
Prediction: Colombia 2-0 Uruguay